they came home with me, 2013

Well, here's the buy to end all buys for the year.

A bit of context - I’ve always loved the look of the Louis Vuitton SC duffle, but a few whirls with it in the shop made me realise it isn’t quite right for me – the shoulder straps are too short and none of the sizes offered are quite it. To say nothing of the price.

Then the Saint Laurent duffle came out, and I don’t care that it’s derivative in design (a charge that has been levelled at just about all the bags Hedi Slimane has designed for the house so far). I liked it. It clicked with me.

I was lost the moment I picked it up. It was lovely to the touch, inside and out (all leather). Well-placed pockets. The right weight and size (this is the Duffle 6) for my lifestyle. I’ll skip the lengthy justification process and simply say that I bought it.

And it's working really well. I can tote it to work with a packed lunch inside on weekdays, and for lazy coffees and a browse at the bookstore on weekends. I like the rough look of the suede and the colour is just dark enough for me to not worry about stains and dirt. And it's a pleasure to touch, always.

I love an item so much more when it's something I use all the time. And I think that's the upside of the shopping I did this year - I bought more things and and spent more money, but I've been getting a lot of use out of them, especially the ones that replaced things that had broken down. It's true, what people say - Buy what you'll wear on a Tuesday afternoon, not a Saturday night.

So, the rundown, for 2013:

Red cotton jeans from M&S
Camel leather lace-ups from Dieppa Restrepo

Glasses from Tom Ford

Navy and off-white gingham cotton short-sleeved blouse from Muji

Grey chambray cap-sleeve dress from A.P.C.
Chambray boyfriend shorts from Esprit
Palm leaf hat from Crazy Crow Trading Post

Navy linen cropped trousers from J Crew
Navy linen short-sleeved dress from Muji
Oatmeal linen knit pullover from Muji

Navy cotton skirt from J Crew
Seafoam "Goddess" bikini from Seafolly

Burgundy leather purse from Steven Alan
White leather lace-ups from Dieppa Restrepo

Grey jersey dress with chambray collar from COS

Camel nubuck ankle boots with low heel from A.P.C.
Grey suede and leather duffle bag from Saint Laurent

I am especially pleased with the shoes I bought this year - for one, I bought all of them with substantial discounts (50% and up). I had to throw away 4 pairs of shoes this year because 3 of them had holes that couldn't be patched and one of them was so worn and stretched that they fell off my feet when I walked. To find three good replacements in one year is sheer good luck.

The darned J Crew trousers are reminder that buying trousers online is risky. The A.P.C. and Muji dresses and the J Crew skirt are concessions to the fact that there ARE days when it's too, too hot for jeans and trousers. The COS and the M&S jeans are proof that I am vulnerable to stress-shopping.

I feel lucky as always, to have these choices, the ability to buy more than I need, and indulge in the pleasure of owning and using beautiful things. I've also felt very fortunate to been able to take time to travel, learn new things, spend time with my love ones, and eat well. To say nothing of being about to indulge in the joys of modern culture (film, TV, music, books).

This year, I've had people very closely to me fall very sick, and several other instances reminded me of not just mortality, but the inevitable degeneration of our health as we age. That has made reminded that aside from living responsibly, I need to (cliché alert!) live for today too. Yes, book that trip to the Maldives, because some day my joints will be too creaky to heave those scuba tanks around. Yes, buy that Saint Laurent bag, because saving ALL the money I make is no fun. Yes, take my best friends out for a meal just because. Yes, do a good deed today, because too often I am self-centred and forget. Yes, agree to do that thing scares you a little bit because who want to be comfortable all the time? Let go and do what the heart wants, every now and then.

Getting that balance between discipline and enjoying the ephemeral pleasures of life? That's one sweet spot I'd like to hit some day. In the meantime, I'll be trying.

Anyways. Thanks for reading (still). Happy ,and see you all here in 2014! In the meantime, I'm not completely offline, I'll still be Instagramming.


Pret a Porter P said…
The duffel/boston/speedy shape is a classic style, that nowadays not any one brand can lay claim to. I agree about the best purchases are the ones that actually get used.

-ps. I can't see the pictures.
nanashi said…
It is great when you use the bag heavily, because it means that it is a wardrobe staple and work horse, not just a nice accessory to tote once in awhile.

Also, just wanted to write to say thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts through this blog, your blog has been inspiring me to self-examine my own habits and thoughts about what it means to build a wardrobe responsibly. Have a happy new year!
Petya K. Grady said…
i can't see the pictures either and i NEED to! :D
Kali Vine said…
Thank you for this very thoughtful recap. I agree with you on many points - indulging in beautiful items and enjoying them daily, finding a balance between pleasure and discipline... A very good post to end the year on!

Happy end of 2013 year to you too and see you back in 2014 (maybe on instagram in the meantime ;)
Aïssa said…
tech issue alert: Just when I thought I'd actually see THE bag...
As always you craftfily sum up what I'm sure most of us -especially in this alternate blog universe- feel like, priviliged but with a sense that nothing's granted neither certain. Carpe diem indeed!
spockcookbook said…
I will take the year end as an opportunity to thank you for your posts and inspiration. They helpedme immensely in defining my style. I also appreciate that you share your travel adventures. Nowadays ingenuity flees blogging world, and it's such a treat tohave your blog around.

Silent, but grateful follower ;)
Ammu said…
That colour! Gorgeous. The duffel might be my favourite style in bags - I own a stunning garnet duffel by DVF and love it so much that I got an asphalt goatskin duffel made for a song in India last summer.
Your list is so restrained compared to mine - I feel like I have made a few mistakes (not expensive ones, but still) this year. Intend to be more thoughtful in the new year - also easier to do in a city where few care about fashion. I would rather spend my money on travel.
Speaking of which, I will be in your neck of the woods after Christmas - for about ten days. Will drop you a line x
Anonymous said…
What a beautiful bag.

I think a gorgeous bag you use every single day is one of the best things you can spend money on. No regrets.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the thoughtful post. A couple of things have happened to my loved ones in the last couple of days too, which always reminds me of our mortality and makes me appreciate little things and life in general more.
Have a good Christmas and New Year break!

Greetings from snowy and frosty Poland (visiting family)

Jocy said…
I loved reading this thoughtful recap. You're right - it's important to enjoy life's pleasures NOW, whether it be a beautiful pair of shoes or a dinner with loved ones.
I too am guilty of purchasing the Duffel 6 this month! Oh isn't she a gorgeous bag? I'd love to see just what all you fit in there and how you organize everything inside considering it's just one round little duffle bag. :)
Eileen said…
I like your approach to shopping-so systematic and yet incidental. So happy for that last round up of the year.. THAT COLOUR!

Other than the apc leopard parka which I bought for HK and didnt get to wear :( and the Lilly which I passed on to you :), I am happy with my buys this year.

Here's wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas!
Anonymous said…
Thoughtful recap on both the buys and life. Your post is always a sweet escape for me to unwind from the daily grind and I'm hoping to buy as disciplined as you in the coming years. Cheers to a better year! - I Ying
The color of the Saint Laurent bag is gorgeous! Multi-seasonal as well. I'm afraid to list all of my purchases from 2013, I spent way too much on clothing! I did a lot of "stress shopping" since I got promoted at work. I'm hoping to spend a lot less in 2014 so that I can travel more.
Joy said…
You are giving me reasons not to completely write off SLP after all. I think you have bought completely reasonable amount of clothing and have incorporated them well in what outfits posts we have seen. Good year for you! With my grandmother passing this summer, it too made realize how precious time is. Can't wait to read more travel/adventure posts from you in the future. I wonder where you will travel next. Merry Christmas/Happy holidays!
lin said…
Pret a Porter P: I actually get a lot more kick out of this compared to say my Chanel bag, which I also love but I will never feel quite as affectionate about because it's used much less.

nanashi: Thanks! I never set out thinking I could be any kind of role model, but if sharing my trials and errors helps, that's good to know! Happy new year to you too!

Petya K Grady: I hope you do now!

Kali Vine: Here's to disciplined pleasure seeking!

Aissa: Thanks! It actually feels great to know many other people grapple with these issues!

spockcookbook: thank you so much! (and that is an awesome username)

Ammu: Great! Catch up soon! Must be a relief to get away from Nepal winters for a little while?

themustardjumper: Absolutely. I actually have to set a rule that I rotate my everyday bags every month, because bags deteriorate so much from lack of use.

Kasia: Happy holidays! I hope all is well with you - I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that we are not invincible so I empathise with anyone in similar situation.

Jocy: So much better for my health too, to not be wound up and live a little!

Brigette De Soto Menendez: Perhaps someday I'll do one of those what is in my bag posts. The Duffle 6 is actually just nice for me for every day - I can even fit a lunchbox in there.

Eileen: The incidental stuff almost always works out better for me -- I am realising that stuff I don't agonise over are usually good buys; any hesitation usually means something isn't going to work out.

I'm still so pleased with the Lilly - the other day I used it because I was helping out with a dog adoption drive and it was so handy to have everything I need with me but my hands were free!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas with your family!

I-Ying: Thanks and same to you!

koko: I do love the colour; incidentally it is the exact same colour as my YSL Tribute tote -- it's a colour they get absolutely right.

I stress shop too but usually manage to refrain from spending in the end - I think in the end I know I won't really be happier. Congratulations on the promotion! And I hope you do get to travel more in 2014.

Joy: I can't get into Hedi Slimane's clothing designs. And his shoes are quite boring! But so far when it comes to the bags and accessories, they suit my conservative tastes and at least they deliver on the workmanship front.

I'm all set for a trip to the Maldives in August for some diving, as well as to Komodo island in Indonesia hopefully in May, for some diving as well. I hope to fit in a city somewhere - was thinking I should finally try Japan since airfare is very much more affordable, but will see where my feet takes me. Happy holidays to you too! In the meantime, there is Sherlock!
Mark Lee said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay K said…
The color of your duffle is gorgeous. I love that you don't see that color EVERYWHERE, but it's still so wearable and very, very pretty.

I agree with you on the S.C. It pains me that the sizing just isn't quite right.

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